TRIPOLI : - Libya’s economy minister said Thursday that disruptions to the country’s oil production by protesters will hurt the economy but that the government has sufficient resources to meet its outlays. Moustapha Abou Fnas was speaking two days after the International Monetary Fund forecast GDP would fall by 5.1 percent this year because of the disruption and that the government would suffer a budget deficit. Without giving precise figures, he said “the petroleum crisis will certainly have negative effects on the economy, but will not affect government spending,” such as on salaries. “The state has other resources” to cover the deficit gap, he told a press conference, without elaborating.

Protesters demanding a fairer distribution of resources and jobs, have been blocking oil fields and export terminals.

Current output is estimated to have dropped to 250,000 barrels per day from 1.5 million bpd before the protests erupted in July, an official at Libya’s National Oil Co told AFP last week.

Abou Fnas said these problems had cost the economy 8 billion dinars ($6 billion/4.5 billion euros) since they erupted.

That contrasted with recent claims by MP Souleiman Kajem that the losses exceeded $13 billion.

Economic growth in the North Africa country surged by 104.5 percent last year, compensating for a massive contraction of 62.1 percent in 2011, the year dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled.